WTF Fun Fact 12945 – Snapchat Dysmorphia

If you’re over 30, you probably remember the days when getting rid of red-eye in a photo was your biggest photographic concern. Now, people have so many options that the results hardly look human. And that’s a big problem when it aids people’s body dysmorphic disorder or creates the newly-minted “Snapchat dysmorphia.”

Striving for perfection

Plenty of us are guilty of looking at an old photo and wishing we looked that good in real life. Some of us even try to use that photo as a guide for how to style ourselves in the future. But social media filters do something different to our psyches. That’s because they allow us to airbrush away the tiniest flaws, see what we look like in perfect lighting, and even allow us to snip in our waists or hips.

Once we see ourselves as we truly want to be, the effects can be a little too alluring. In fact, more and more people are getting plastic surgery to look more like their filtered selves.

According to Jessica Baron in Forbes, “[In 2018] we were introduced to the phrase “Snapchat dysmorphia” in a piece by researchers from the Department of Dermatology at Boston University’s School of Medicine. In JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery, they described the ability of Snapchat and FaceTune filters to smooth out skin and make teeth look whiter and lips look fuller as a gateway to seeing oneself in a whole new way – a way users wanted to replicate in real life.”

Things have only gotten worse since then.

Your profile pic, yourself

According to Healthline (cited below), filtering isn’t necessarily the problem: “Filtering your selfies isn’t necessarily harmful. Often, it’s nothing more than a fun exercise, like dressing up or experimenting with a new makeup style.” The problem is when we filter ourselves so heavily and so constantly that we start to get disconnected from reality (especially the reality that someone could be so flawless).

“Snapchat dysmorphia, to put it simply, happens when you compare filtered selfies to your actual appearance. When you fixate on your perceived flaws, the feelings of discontent and unhappiness that surface might lead you to wish you could alter your features to match those filtered images.”

Snapchat dysmorphia is a problem, but not yet a diagnosis

Social media use in general has long been linked to increased bodily dissatisfaction. In fact, Meta (the parent company of Facebook and Instagram) is named in 8 lawsuits accusing the company of exploiting young people for profit.

Healthline states, “Snapchat dysmorphia isn’t an official mental health diagnosis, so experts have yet to determine a standard definition, criteria, or symptoms.”

Simply filtering your selfies doesn’t qualify you for this potential future diagnosis, however. Cosmetic surgery or injections to alter your face or body are things people have been doing for decades.

The problems come in when we fixate on our appearance in selfies, feel like we can no longer be as good as our social media selves, and get preoccupied with “flaws” that only we see (such as our eye placement, forehead, lip shape, etc.).

Some people become obsessed with taking selfies and editing them. They may go back and edit old photos to alter their appearance to measure up to some perceived standard. They feel anxiety over going out without heavy makeup. Or they get defensive when others take photos. They may even feel worse about themselves the more they take and alter selfies. The problem is, they’re unable to stop.

We may find that, in a few years, there’s a mental health diagnosis that addresses this.  WTF fun facts

Source: “Snapchat Dysmorphia: Does Perfection Lie Just a Filter Away?” — Healthline

WTF Fun Fact 12715 – Cherophobia

Anxiety is often irrational, but that doesn’t make it feel less real. However, it becomes a problem when we develop anxiety that interferes with our ability to live life to the fullest.

Take cherophobics for example. Many of us have met people who seem to just refuse to be happy. But those with cherophobia are genuinely concerned that if they do something to make themselves happy, that misery will follow – as if somehow the universe needs to balance out that way.

It’s common to wonder when the other shoe will drop when life is going a bit too well. But those with cherophobia get stressed out at even the thought of having fun.

There’s not a lot of research on the disorder yet, and it has not been added to the DSM to qualify as a mental illness.

But there is one interesting piece of research on cherophobia that gives 4 explanations as to why someone may want to avoid being happy or displaying happiness, and it may depend on culture and upbringing:

  1. A fear that happiness will bring on bad luck
  2. The belief that one doesn’t deserve to be happy while others suffer
  3. The belief that expressing happiness can cause envy in others who will want to prevent your happiness
  4. The idea that pursuing happiness is detrimental to your own soul or to the common good

Frankly, it makes a bit more sense when we see how it may play out in people.

Sadly, cherophobics may not only avoid doing things that make them happy, but they may also pass up opportunities to have meaningful and joyful relationships.

And on that note, we’re going to go call a friend and pour a glass of wine and be thankful for what we have! — WTF fun facts

Source: “Cherophobia Explained: Fear of Happiness & How to Overcome It” —

WTF Fun Fact 12653 – The Amazing Nellie Bly

Nellie Bly was one of the first female investigative journalists. The daughter of a county judge, she was born Elizabeth Jane Cochran. But she borrowed the name Nellie Bly from an American minstrel song because women never wrote under their real names.

Bly searched for a job for months in NYC before sneaking into The New York World’s headquarters to pitch a story.

In order to inform Americans about the horrific conditions inside the country’s psychiatric hospitals (called “insane asylums” at the time), she volunteered to become a patient on the condition that The World would send a lawyer to get her out after ten days.

Her riveting account was the beginning of investigative journalism, and her book Ten Days in a Mad-House was widely read and awarded.

But she didn’t rest on her laurels after that. Instead, her next project was to travel around the world in 72 days (in 1889-1890, so there were no airplanes!) with just one bag. Of course, this was designed to challenge Phileas Fogg’s Around the World in 80 Days.

After her successful and highly-publicized trips, the papers called her the “best-known and most widely talked of woman on earth.”

At age 50, she reported from the front lines in Austria during WWI, interviewing soldiers on the battlefield and in the trenches.

While she married a millionaire, she ended up buried in a pauper’s grave after dying of pneumonia at age 57. That’s because she spent all of her time and money helping people out of poverty. In 1978, the New York Press Club funded a small and simple headstone with her name in New York’s Woodlawn Cemetery. However, today, she also has a memorial on Roosevelt Island, the site of the asylum where she did the first investigative work that made her famous. – WTF Fun Facts

Source: “10 Facts About Nellie Bly” — History Hit